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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jennifer Senior Narrator: Jennifer Senio Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. Award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior now asks: What are the effects of children on their parents?

In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior isolates and analyzes the many ways in which children reshape their parents’ lives, whether it’s their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self. She argues that changes in the last half century have radically altered the roles of today’s mothers and fathers, making their mandates at once more complex and far less clear. Recruiting from a wide variety of sources—in history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology—she dissects both the timeless strains of parenting and the ones that are brand new, and then brings her research to life in the homes of ordinary parents around the country. The result is an unforgettable series of family portraits, starting with parents of young children and progressing to parents of teens. Through lively and accessible storytelling, Senior follows these mothers and fathers as they wrestle with some of parenthood’s deepest vexations—and luxuriate in some of its finest rewards.

Meticulously researched yet imbued with emotional intelligence, All Joy and No Fun makes us reconsider some of our culture’s most basic beliefs about parenthood, all while illuminating the profound ways children deepen and add purpose to our lives. By focusing on parenthood, rather than parenting, the book is original and essential reading for mothers and fathers of today—and tomorrow.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “If you are tempted to read just one more book on the arguably overexamined subject of parenthood, let it be Jennifer Senior’s wise and surprising All Joy and No Fun.”


  • “[An] astute book…clear and helpful…refreshing…an eye opening debut, and it will help a lot of parents feel less alone, if not less frazzled.”

    New York Times

  • “In this book, mom/journalist Jennifer Senior turns the tables on the millions of parents who are so intent on assessing every minute effect that they have on their toddler. She does so by answering the direct question: What effects are our babies and youngsters having on us? Her responses encompass not only her own experiences, but also those of men and women experiencing what modern parenting really means. Editor's recommendation.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “Reading Jennifer Senior’s lively and weirdly comforting All Joy and No Fun was like attending the self-help group for beleaguered parents that I never knew I needed. (‘Hi, my name is Neal, and I’m a parent-aholic…’) Far afield from the headline-grabbing shockers in books like Tiger Mom, this is a thoughtful and deeply researched look at the reality of modern day parenthood: we love our kids, and they make us crazy, and it’s all our fault. The book grew from Senior’s eye-raising New York magazine piece, in which she explored the dark side of parenting—the depression, the marital woes, the loss of self-worth. Sure, raising kids is, ultimately, deeply rewarding. But on a day to day basis? Sometimes a bummer. Parenthood has changed a lot since World War II, as more women entered the workforce, dads became more engaged in child rearing, and an ‘asymmetrical’ parent-child relationship evolved. We’re doing more for our kids, but they’re doing less for us. ‘Children went from being our employees to our bosses,’ Senior writes. If you want to be a better parent—or, maybe more importantly, to feel better about the parent you’ve become—you need this book. And, probably, a nap.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Salted with insights and epigrams, the book is argued with bracing honesty and flashes of authentic wisdom…[an] excellent book.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[A] richly woven, entertaining, enlightening, wrenching, and funny book.”

    Washington Post

  • “Senior’s wise compassion provides guidance that’s both necessary and inspiring.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A quick, lively read...[Senior’s] carefully observed case studies of modern families read like scenes from novels.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Always generous in tone, Senior is a keen observer of the impact children have on their parents’ marriages, mental health, work, and social lives, and she makes deft use of social-science research...The book’s most useful contribution may be the connection it makes between joy...and, surprisingly, grief.”

    New Yorker

  • “An important book, much the way The Feminine Mystique was, because it offers parents a common language, an understanding that they’re not alone in their struggles, and an explanation of the cultural, political, and economic reasons for them.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Jennifer Senior’s excellent new book… is not prescriptive. She doesn’t tell parents to be more mindful or drink more wine or neglect their kids; she just wants them to understand why they are always so stressed out.”


  • “Attention childless persons: If you’re thinking of having kids, and are looking for an accurate assessment of the experience, disregard the holiday cards you may have received that portray merry families in various stages of triumph. Instead, read Jennifer Senior’s book. This eloquent read is a tonic.”

    Huffington Post

  • “[The] glimpses into the conundrums of other parents are thought-provoking and fun to read.”


  • “Jennifer Senior successfully connects a barrage of scholarship with the real experiences of moms and dads, and the resulting book, All Joy and No Fun, is completely fascinating.”


  • “Chatty, generous, and yet statistically grounded reverse-angle of the usual studies of what parents do to children.”

    New York Post

  • “Jennifer Senior narrates her exceptional book at breakneck speed, but good phrasing makes everything comprehensible. Her pacing gives this audio vigor and keeps the author’s passion for her topic in view. The book is not a how-to but a satisfying overview of how raising children impacts parents. Before the late 1940s, she says, children were valued mainly as workers; parenting was less burdened by our outsized aspirations for them and emotional attachments to them. She illustrates her insights with absorbing interviews of ordinary parents, stories that give her writing a touching humanity. The research and cultural history she distills provide listeners with a satisfying long view on the real costs and joys of parenting.”


  • All Joy and No Fun is an indispensable map for a journey that most of us take without one. Brilliant, funny, and brimming with insight, this is an important book that every parent should read, and then read again. Jennifer Senior is surely one of the best writers on the planet.”

    Daniel Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author

  • All Joy and No Fun is the perfect intellectual Rx for today’s overstressed parents: a calm, clear-eyed synthesis of all the reasons their lives seem to be falling apart…This is a profound book about the meaning of love and how we raise not just our children but ourselves.”

    Tom Reiss, New York Times bestselling author

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2014
  • A Library Journal Bestseller
  • One of Audible’s Best Audiobooks of 2014: Editors' Pick
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About the Author

Jennifer Senior is a contributing editor at New York magazine. She lives in New York with her family.